[UCLA: SA Preseason #3]First-year head coach Amanda Cromwell, who arrived from UCF to take over for B.J. Snow, inherited a team loaded with talent, including two Olympians and four U.S. under-23 players, but she also must lead the Bruins against three of the nation's top five teams in the Soccer America Preseason Top 25 -- all on the road.
For the second time in two years, UCLA lost its women's head coach to U.S. Soccer. After Jill Ellis, who named youth development director, Snow left to become the first full-time head coach of the U.S. Under-17 women's national team.
Snow left Cromwell, who guided the Knights to a 203-83-26 record in 14 years, with a deeps squad, featuring nine starters from the team that went 18-3-2 and advanced to the 2012 NCAA quarterfinals.
All-American defender Abby Dahlkemper is one of four under-23 players along with Sarah Killion, Sam Mewis and Jenna Richmond, while Rosie White (New Zealand) and Chelsea Stewart (Canada) went to the Olympics in 2012.
Junior keeper Katelyn Rowland set a Bruin record for consecutive shutout minutes (564), while sophomore Taylor Smith is the top returning scorer with eight goals and 20 points.
UCLA's freshman class is deep. Gabbi Miranda, Lauren Kaskie, Zoey Goralskiand Darian Jenkins are all expected to contribute.
The Bruins' schedule kicks off Friday with a home match against Northeastern, but they must take to the road to race No. 1 North Carolina, No. 4 Stanford in Pac-12 play and No. 5 Notre Dame.